Lakers vs. Thunder: 3 Things to Know (11/22/19)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers start a four-game road trip against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
1) The offense is warming up…
After their win Tuesday night against the Thunder, the Lakers offense rose to 9th in offensive rating, scoring 109.6 points per 100 possessions.
That jump made Frank Vogel’s squad the only Western Conference team to be in the Top 10 in both offense and defense – where they only trail the Utah Jazz thanks a 100.5 defensive rating.
A big part of that is due to LeBron James’ magnificent start to the season. The King is averaging 25.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and a career-high 11.1 assists through 14 games.
James also became the first player in league history to notch a triple-double against all 30 NBA franchises.
2) … and hot outside shooting is playing a big part recently
The Lakers are shooting 39.9% from beyond the arc in their last 5 games, allowing the team to rise to 20th in the league in that category.
There isn’t just one hot hand: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made 6-of-12. Danny Green is 10 for his last 21 (47.6%). Kyle Kuzma is 13-for-28 in that stretch and heating up.
And of course there’s James, whose step backs are getting deadlier and nastier every game:
Don’t blink pic.twitter.com/JNMaLZ0j6v— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 20, 2019
3) Don’t sleep on the Thunder’s backcourt
Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander didn’t have their best performances on Tuesday, but that likely won’t happen again this time.
CP3 is averaging 15.8 points and his current 41.1% from beyond the arc would tie his best season (2016-17). The veteran point guard hasn’t missed any games this season and at 34 is enjoying another productive campaign – his 15th in the NBA.
Meanwhile, SGA is having a breakout of sorts in his sophomore year. The Canadian guard is averaging almost 35 minutes per game, and has so far upped his scoring (to 19.4) and almost doubled his rebounding (from 2.8 to 5.1). He’s also shooting 38.1% from downtown.
The duo combined for 20 points on 6-for-23 from the field at STAPLES Center on Tuesday, and containing them again would go a long way toward L.A. starting the road trip with another win.
Lakers: Anthony Davis (sore right shoulder) and Alex Caruso (right calf strain) are probable. Avery Bradley (hairline fracture, right leg), Talen Horton-Tucker (G League), Zach Norvell Jr. (G League), Kostas Antetokounmpo (G League) and DeMarcus Cousins (rehabilitation, right knee) are out.
Thunder: Hamidou Diallo (left knee sprain) and Andre Roberson (injury recovery; left knee) are out.
Tip-Off: 5:00 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN & 1330 KWKW
Unis: Gold Icon
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena — Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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